Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Aug 07, 2012

Do employees have free speech rights on Facebook?


Q: My employee posted derogatory comments on his Facebook page. He says it’s free speech and he can post whatever he wants. Is he correct?

A: Yes and no. Free speech means the government cannot prohibit you from freely speaking (with restrictions, of course), but it does not restrict private employers from taking action against an employee for their speech. However, be careful if you are trying to discipline an employee for saying something protected under labor laws. For example, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects an employee’s right to engage in concerted activity, which could include online posts complaining about the workplace. There are several other employment laws that may protect an employee’s Facebook post or other comments, so be sure to do your homework before taking action.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.